Arts Council England
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Welcomed support for the arts and cultural sector in 2015 Budget

Arts Council England has welcomed support for the arts and culture sector in the 2015 Budget.

In the last Budget of this current Parliament, Chancellor George Osborne recognised the importance of the arts and creative industries in securing Britain’s place as ‘a cultural centre of the world’.

Specific commitments on arts and culture included an extra £8.9million to support culture and tourism across the country, a 25% tax relief for orchestras and an extension of other successful creative tax reliefs. There’s also support for the roll-out of Wi-Fi in libraries across England, and changes to Gift Aid to support smaller charities and online giving. More details on all the Budget’s arts and culture measures are below.

Peter Bazalgette, Chair, Arts Council England, said:

“The announcement of £8.9 million of support for redevelopment and regeneration projects across the country- from Bristol to Hull and beyond - shows that arts and culture are fundamental to the development of our towns and cities.

“Access to free Wi-Fi in every public library in England will make it easier for people everywhere to access the digital offer and we’re looking forward to the Arts Council managing the roll-out.

“For a tiny percentage of the government’s overall spend, arts and culture gives a huge return to society, from the economic benefits of regeneration, tourism and support for our creative industries, our children’s education, our health and wellbeing and of course - to entertain and inspire us.

“Creating growth outside of London, including infrastructure and developing new and diverse audiences takes sustained investment. These measures will help arts and culture to continue to contribute to society and the economy, at a time when there are still funding pressures on our sector.”

The Budget was framed more broadly in terms of a ‘truly national recovery’ as the Chancellor committed more to building up the ‘Northern Powerhouse’. There were also changes to the planned borrowing and spending for 2015-20, with the Office for Budget Responsibility revising down the forecasted budget surplus for 2019-20 from £23.1bn to £7bn.

Culture and Creative Announcements:

Creative Tax Reliefs

The introduction a new orchestra tax relief of 25% on qualifying expenditure from April 2016 was confirmed and the response to the consultation will be published shortly. The Chancellor also confirmed an increase in the film tax relief to 25% for all qualifying expenditure, and extension of the high-end television tax relief, and the introduction a new children’s television tax relief from April 2015.


The Government will provide £7.4 million funding to support libraries in England to provide internet access and Wi-Fi. The Arts Council will manage this programme.

Gift Aid

Secondary legislation will be introduced to increase the maximum annual donation amount which can be claimed through the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme to £8,000, allowing charities and Community Amateur Sports Clubs to claim Gift Aid style top-up payments of up to £2,000 a year, with effect from April 2016. The Government will also legislate to allow regulations to be made to give intermediaries a greater role in administering Gift Aid.

Further spending

£8.98 million in funding for culture and tourism was confirmed, which includes projects we have agreed with the Treasury such as Seachange in Great Yarmouth, Colston Hall in Bristol, Yorkshire Festival and others. There was also funding towards the Muni Theatre in Pendle recently visited by the Secretary of State.

Find out more

Take a look at our investment plans in arts and culture across England over 2015-18

You can read more about the 2015 budget here  


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